Will E-books Equal Bare Bookshelves Some Day?

SS Member Image By drodriguez 09.18.11
Will E-books Equal Bare Bookshelves Some Day?
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A recent SheSpeaks poll reveals that many of our members have stepped into the age of e-books with more than 20% saying they use an e-reader (like the Kindle), a smartphone, or tablet to get their lit-fix. E-readers seem to be the most popular among our members with almost 14% preferring this format.

If you ever thought the growing popularity of e-books could one day equal bare bookshelves, you may not be so off the mark. A New York Times report reveals a dramatic decrease in the sale of mass market paperbacks (those inexpensive little books that can just about fit in your back pocket) and blames e-books for taking a lot of revenue away from this format.

The Association of American Publishers released a survey last month that shows mass-market paperback sales have fallen a whopping 14% since 2008. Literary agent, David Gernert, comments on the decline of these paperback sales, “Five years ago, it was a robust market. Now it’s on the wane, and e-books have bitten a big chunk out of it.”

The penny-pinchers among us, who have found that the e-book edition is released sooner than a mass-market paperback and costs about the same, have welcomed the e-book format with open arms.

Book traditionalists have no fear, with almost 80% of our members still preferring hard covers and paperbacks we probably won’t see our “good old-fashioned” books disappearing any time soon. But at the same time, the convenience of e-books are only gaining in popularity among readers.

Do you think the decline of mass-market paperbacks means we may also see a similar decline in the sale of hard covers and trade paperbacks?

Tell us how you read books!

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  • Bearyunique By Bearyunique

    I do not think you will see a decline in hard covers or trade books. An author can not sign an e-reader and many readers have favorite writers that would love an autographed book. Hard covers make great gifts. I bought a Nook Color for magazines and paperback books, just to save the environment of paper. It will not change the way I purchase hard covers those are for keeps.

  • aeryka310 By aeryka310

    i mostly use my ipad to read books but for my absolute favorite books, i like the keep a physical book (that way, i know i have something to do if something happens and there's no power for a day or two and my ipad dies on me). i also think physical books are so important for kids, so i have 1 or 2 ebooks for my daughter and that's only for when we're in waiting rooms and such.

  • TheJessicaBaker01 By TheJessicaBaker01

    I ove reading a good paperback book! Sometimes you just can't beat curling up on a couch and in your bed with a good paperback book! But I do think that an e-reader would be good if your traveling, especially at night. But I won't ever stop buying paperbacks because I like them so much more!

  • trsssm By trsssm

    I love the feel of a book and to actually SEE the cover etc, but its so much easier for me to just upload it to my Kindle and go. I always have my Kindle with me in my purse and I love that so I always have reading with me at all times, so yes its a possibility electronic books may rule some day.

  • dorothygail By dorothygail

    I love my e-reader. It is what I use 75% of the time. However, I have favorite authors that will always have a place on my bookshelf.

  • 1shoppingmama By 1shoppingmama

    If you had asked me if ebooks would replace paper books a year ago I'd have said no way. Today, though, I'd have to say there is a real possibility that one day paper books will go the way of records and cassette tapes. My husband bought me a Kindle for my birthday this year and I am head over heels in love with it! I love being able to get books anytime I want while still in my pj's. The Kindle is easier to hold and read than a regular book and it's so easy to take with me everywhere! I love that as my eyes get tired late at night I can just increase the font on the screen and I can keep reading. :D Somehow paper books just seem so antiquated now.

  • Peggysue By Peggysue

    As the owner of a Kindle, which I have yet to really use; I think I may have made an error in purchasing it. I am still reading my paper backs, and I have a great used book store in my town that I would hate to see close. I don't have to read a book as it comes out and I hate to pay the price on my Kindle of a new book. I wait until it comes down in price due to being on the market a while. I also have a lot of friends I can trade books with and keep them moving to other friends. There is something to be said about holding the actual book. I'm afraid e-books will be our future very soon.

  • Shelbyk96 By Shelbyk96

    This topic has been a common one in my book club. I belong to a small one and 2 of our members have e-readers. Personally, I like the "feel" of a book in my hands and I enjoy browsing the library or the bookstore for something new. While I do feel the e-reader could definitely come in handy in certain situations, I don't think regular books will ever go away.

  • Texmel By Texmel

    I do love holding a book in my hand; but unless it is something I absolutely love I don't usually purchase it. I take my son to the library at least twice a week; we both put things on hold that we would like to read then check them out. I would love a Kindle at some point but we also REALLY love our library; and our whole family was saddened at the recent closing of our favorite bookstore, Borders.

  • Tahoe38 By Tahoe38

    I think we'll still have books. The ereader technology hasn't gotten to where it's common where everyone has one. Someday they might be as common as microwaves, but I think it will be a while before that happens.

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